Let the madness begin. Google's much-hyped augmented reality project, known simply as "Glass," has already hit eBay — and Google's Sergey Brin thinks that's absurd.
Glass Bidding Wars Reach Crazy Heights
Earlier today, a fishy Google Glass listing by eBay user bla7ckat had reached more than 25 bids — nudging upward of $15,000 — before it was pulled by eBay. Another listing, by eBay member dushy_i, started at $1,500 but appears to have been shut down by the seller. In a surprise appearance at the TED Conference, Brin dismissed the $15,000 eBay listing, noting that the consumer version of Glass will retail for less than $1,500. Patience is a virtue, after all.
(See also: Finally! A Look Inside The Top-Secret Google Glass Foundry)
Brin also renewed the company's promise to deliver the wearable future-tech broadly to mainstream consumers by the end of 2013, though the company's pool of chosen developers (and some press) will get their hands on the device first. The Google co-founder's cameo also coincided with the end of Google's #ifihadglass contest, which invited anyone with a good idea and $1,500 to apply for access to an early batch of Glass.
A Hot, Scarce Device — For Now
As for the Glass bidding wars, we can only imagine that Wednesday's handful will be the first of many. I reached out to eBay, who told me that blac7kat's listing was in violation of the company's presale listings policy. Though it didn't specify which bit, I'd venture to guess the post was yanked due to the seller's inability to guarantee that Glass would ship within 30 days from the end of the auction — one of a presale's stipulations. Pre-sale and "placeholder" auctions are pretty common, though the listing was a bit conspicuous, as you can see in the excerpt below:
"I've been selected as an early adapter for Google's upcoming release. you are buying a brand new unopened pair of Google's Project Glass glasses. i will be personally attending and picking up my pair in either Los Angeles, or New York at Google's Project Glass launch event, which will take place some time after Feburary 27th."
Keeping Glass In The Right Hands
While Google Glass lacks a formal release date, the increased buzz around the Android-powered visors makes it feel like the wait will soon draw to an end for Google I/O Glass pre-orderers, known as "Glass Explorers." Conference attendees who pre-ordered Glass (myself among them) have yet to pay a cent, and it's possible that we'll be required to agree to a contract that might prevent a rash of early adopter price gouging on online auction sites, as noted by the second eBay Glass seller:
"DISCLAIMER: If there is a contract from Google NOT to sell the glasses (I don't believe there is, but I want to cover that case), or if I don't receive the google glasses for some reason, I'll cancel the eBay transaction and refund you the entire amount."
Google certainly knows a lot about its users. It's not hard to imagine that early editions of Glass could be tied closely to Explorers' Google accounts and unique Glass plaque numbers to prevent more astronomical eBay bidding wars.
(See also: Google Glass Project Now Open To Regular People)
The company has done a remarkable job of playing its cards close to its chest with Glass. Hardly a peep emerged from Google's first Glass hackathon last month. Well-timed subway appearances, runway debuts and surprise cameos at events like TED are just stoking the fire of the hottest, geekiest piece of wearable tech that we've ever laid eyes on.
Ebay screenshot via Business Insider, Google Glass image via Google